Why I would invest in Oasis if I was Wikia Edit
I am not Wikia; I'm not employed by them and have no inside knowledge. However, I have wondered why Wikia has invested considerable resources into their new skin project. When asked, "why the new skin", the answer is usually some vague waffling about user experience and moving with the times. If I was Wikia, I'd invest in a change like that for my bottom line. Here's how the most marked changes affect it.
Behaviour tracking boosts ad sales Edit
Targetted advertisements can be sold for twice as much as normal ads. Wikia hides most tools in dropdowns; the ones still in the open are "share" and "follow"; both indicate what a user likes, and some ad networks are able to track clicks to these links and correlate them with page content to get a picture of the reader's interests. ("Google also plans to go head-to-head with Facebook's "Like" button—a tiny tool on many websites that lets people tell friends they "like" something. Each click gives Facebook valuable, personal data about people's interests."  ) An added benefit might be that the "cleaner" page helps behaviour analysis algorithms to more easily filter out unimportant clicks.
Wikia have already told us they do click-tracking -- usually in the context of "studies". With the topbar, they have a way to centrally present some interests that advertisers may be interested in - and every time your mouse moves from your browser toolbar to the wiki toolbar at the bottom, one of those things pops open. If I was Wikia, I'd definitely cash in on that.
Some anonymous editors felt forced by the new skin to create accounts for themselves so they could access RecentChanges etc. since anons do not have access to a toolbar. Logging in is one more way of reliably tracking users, and it increases Wikia's "subscriber base", making the site seem larger to advertisers.
Increase time spent on Wikia Edit
The "Wikia rail" at the top might help people who get bored with one Wiki to stay longer on Wikia, exploring other wikis. This increases a metric that is important for advertisers: the time spent on the site (site being Wikia). It makes Wikia appear more attractive to users, and allows it to serve more page views and helps sell ads.
Remove in-content ads Edit
Advertisers demand the box ad in the upper right corner; on the other hand, it is possible that Wikia research found that in-content ads are now less effective than they were thought to be when introduced. Integrating the box ad in a right sidebar solves this. ( somethingawful.com had this 2 years ago! )
Update: Wikia is now using the "empty space" in the lower portion of the sidebar on long pages for ads as well. (Source: User blog:Ciencia Al Poder/December update - New ad formats for your visitors)
Provide a new ad location in the margins Edit
Other sites already use the margins to display advertising (Keenspot, a webcomics site, already does; webcomics have a fixed width anyway). 
Update: Wikia is doing it, too, see screenshot.
I'd put everything that's personalized into widgets that get loaded via Ajax; that way, I could cache the same version of any page for everyone and let the browser create the personal links and load the personal tools separately (only one load for each user, from then on out it's in the browser cache). Normal Widgets such as the shoutbox would have to go; they can't be cached as part of the page.
It seems that despite "hiding" the personal stuff, Wikia isn't doing it that way (yet), with the personalization still being provided by the server as part of the page.
--◄mendel► 00:51, September 28, 2010 (UTC)
Please, with a cherry on top, give the users the choice to keep using Monaco if they want to. Where's the harm?--Thetalpha 15:14, October 2, 2010 (UTC)
If you love us, please give us the option to use Monaco! The new look is unattractive and the articles - which are the point, after all - are much more difficult to read. Up till now, I have enjoyed wikia very much. But the new look is awful. jorj 21:26, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
This is the second time I've seen mention of a green Feedback button "in the topic left corner", but I've yet to actually see the button. The only green buttons I've seen (apart from "Save page" and "Preview" when editing) are "Create a new wiki", and "Send", in the Shoutbox feature you'll sadly be removing. Which is actually what I wanted to leave feedback about, since I'll be sorry to see this go. You call it an underutilized feature, but as has been pointed out before, it's underutilized because almost nobody knows it's even there. It would at least be preferable if wiki admins could set Shoutbox, or any other widget they choose, as default on or off for their own wiki, rather than requiring each user to turn it on when they don't even know it's there. If it's already on at a given wiki, it would be used much more by the visitors to that wiki, and therefore no longer be "underutilized". Just my two cents. -- Jakk Frost 21:50, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
- The green feedback button was removed last week. I've updated this page accordingly, so be sure to take a look if you'd like to send in your feedback. Thanks. - Brandon Rhea(talk) 23:20, October 11, 2010 (UTC)
- Ah, I see, thank you. -- Jakk Frost 17:48, October 12, 2010 (UTC)
Am I the only one who sees the future of wikis here? Edit
Alot of the backlash about the new look, I think, comes from people that just wanted wikia to be where they can write what they where not allowed to enter into the Wikipedia. All the wikis about TV series or games for Nintendo are such a dominant part of the wikia landscape that their admins and users seem to think that they own the place. I think it is very brave of Wikia's management to come out and say that they want Wikia to be something else.
5-6 years ego there where very few other ways to make a site where you can write all about Pokemon or Star-trek, and Wikia did a great thing to enable creating this kind of depots for existing knowledge of existing communities. But then two things happened; First, many new means for creating knowledge depots for few-writers / many-readers where created and secondly (I suppose), Wikia's management started to realize the greater potential of the wiki technology, which is to enable the creation of new communities and the discovery of new knowledge. Am I the only one who was looking for that here?
I certainly can't blame Wikia for all or even most of why my wiki's did not attract writers so far, but I can tell you that some of it - according to feedback I got from others - is the Monobook and Monaco looks that are "too much like the wikipedia". I think the real challenge of any wiki is to make people write and I think many of the features of the new skin, as well the integration with Facebook and other things are good steps towards unleashing the real potential of the wiki by attracting more writers.
When Brandon writes, "We love being the best place for gaming and entertainment information, but we want to expand our success to other topics and types of communities. Our goal is to be a place that attracts the widest possible range of people to read, write, and connect.", I just take his words for what they are. Sure I can understand that there may be commercial interests involved here, but since when it is obscene to want to make money? Wikia is a for-profit site and we all know that. As long as they do so by understanding how their market needs change and by realizing more of their market potential, why should we complain?
So amongst all the bad-mouthing that is going on here, am I the only one who thinks differently? I'm sure that I am not. I am sure that many of Wikia's users see how this is actually a good change and the right change. --Oshani 10:57, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
- No, certainly you are not alone. I think that, even if Wikia had created the best skin in the world, capable of satisfying the advertiser and opening 200% of the potential of wiki sites, most users that have complained would still have complained. Unfortunately, the human nature is fearful of change. When something changes - especially when the change is big and requires a bit of adjustment, the instant reaction is not to ask, "for what good reason may this have changed?"; it is to simply deny that there may be good behind the change. The real world is littered with examples. I do not know a single time in history when someone said, "This is not the way to do things, let's change it," and it was received rapturously. Ultimately, every single time someone wants to make a difference, they have to explain it slowly to others over weeks, months, or even years.
- The wiki I'm part of, Avatar Wiki has been relatively quiet on this skin. I informed them of the impending change with a prominent blog post several days ago. Curiously, no-one, other than select outsiders, has suggested publicly that the skin is so awful that we should consider leaving. In fact, I heard more comments that it was "ok" or "clean" than comments that it was bad. I think whether a wiki adjusts well and has a good, or even neutral perception of this skin change is highly dependent on how the change is presented initially to the wiki public. Since my post takes no position on whether the change is good or not, users were left to form an opinion for themselves.
- And that's exactly the problem. The blog posts, forum announcements or any other kind of announcement on various wikis about the new skin were written by admins, or the most experienced users. These experienced users were the ones who had been on Wikia the longest, and thus were those who were most likely to be unable to adjust quickly to a change, having been far too used to the old design. These experienced users were also the ones who had the loudest and most influential voices on their wikis, which meant that everyone else would likely follow their lead. It is, interestingly, a case where more recent comers to a wiki might actually be better placed to give an objective judgement on the new skin than users that have been here for years.
- Is all the threats and abuse at the moment fair? I don't think so. Is the criticism partly unfounded and probably premature before several months of trial use? I think so. (And one more thing: I think some, particularly the more forceful, forget that Wikia's staff and volunteers are actually people. They are people that walk and talk, and have feelings and morals. And every time they are unfairly abused, rather than criticised constructively, I feel a little sad. Is sympathy that rare?) The 888th Avatar (talk) 12:59, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
- The impression you are getting (paraphrased, "there's nothing wrong with the skin, people just dislike change") stems from the fact that there is no real collection of the criticism uttered, it's sort of buried within literally thousands of blog comments, and an early Forum:Your First Look at the New Wikia (discussion). Experienced editors and admins can spot problems faster than less experienced users. Also, as with any software, expert users typically have different workflows than novice users; and they don't need several months of trial use to notice that the user interface doesn't work for these as well as it used to.
- Wikis that saw themselves as communities hosted by Wikia before now find themselves re-branded as part of a larger overall site; this different hosting model mean that the implicit contract between community and Wikia has been rewritten by Wikia without asking the communities. Often this is accompanied by the realisation that, unlike with most other hosting services, you cannot move your wiki to another host, you must fork it and thus split your community.
- As to the abuse: while I don't condone it, I felt Wikia staff have often not responded to constructive, well thought-out criticism in the past, or conveyed the impression that they're not taking it seriously. While I personally don't believe this merits abuse, I can understand that others feel frustrated and want to vent. --◄mendel► 15:36, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
- Hi Oshani & The 888th Avatar,
- Thanks for your thoughtful posts here. During this transition we have thought a lot about the future of wikis, and have made product decisions that we believe will improve the experience for all of our users, present and future. These decisions along with our communications to the community about these changes are not taken lightly. We do take to heart what is said, and as The 888th avatar mentioned, we are real people who are passionate about our communities. I personally only joined the Wikia community team about a year ago, and have been blown away by the passion, friendliness and expertise that our community possesses. I am currently focused on supporting the entire community with the transition to the new look, especially updating the help wiki and keeping the staff blog list up-to-date with the latest news. Thank you for all of your patience as we move to the new look, and I look forward to seeing it in action across Wikia. Best, --Sarah (Help Forum) (blog) 20:34, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
- As mendel mentioned: "Experienced editors and admins can spot problems faster than less experienced users. Also, as with any software, expert users typically have different workflows than novice users; and they don't need several months of trial use to notice that the user interface doesn't work for these as well as it used to." As an expert user, I already see usability issues here (after 30 minutes. See my latest blog post). This new look makes it much harder to find tools and utilize features of MediaWiki. I personally see both benefits and drawbacks of this new look. I think that it will help new users and be beneficial to inexperienced editors. But it makes it much harder for admins and experienced editors. While we could always fall back to Monobook, speaking from an admin perspective, I want to see what the rest of the users see.
- What I want to see is how Wikia is helping admins and want to see more updates on these issues. Something that is this big of an issue should have daily updates on how its going and what to expect.... I ran into an edit conflict with Sarah on this so I am glad to see we are getting feedback. —JediRogue 20:38, October 13, 2010 (UTC)
Well to be honest, I do see some things that I would like to be corrected in the new skin. Some things (e.g. the top drop-down menu) simply do not work well, and others could use some adjustment. Also I agree that Wikia should be willing to give more attention to the concerns of the communities that are simply looking for hosting for their encyclopedic body of knowledge. Still, I think allot of the backlash is unfair. As far as I understand, Wikia was never meant to be a mere hosting service but rather an attempt to see what more can be done with wikis. --Oshani 07:28, October 14, 2010 (UTC)
The new look is such a flipping pile of dogcrap! Edit
GO BLOOM GO BLOOM! You heard that right: The Winx Club Wiki is moving. Take that Wikia! Another wiki leaving cuz you can't hear, or won't listen to what we say. HA!Roxy13~Dad, I'm a fairy! 16:12, October 27, 2010 (UTC)
They hear all right. They just don't bloody listen. I moved my wiki cause of this crap new look. and I'm not afraid to swear about it and be blocked by the idiots who enforced it. Toothless99 talk to me (View my Contributions) 20:30, January 1, 2011 (UTC)
We should start a petition to keep Monaco. Because people are very upset about this. Smash Wiki is even planning on joining the Nintendo Independant Wiki Alliance. We should put an end to Oasis. We are not ready for an upgrade yet, so who is with me? SeanWheeler 21:21, October 18, 2010 (UTC)
MY EYES!!!! OH SCIENCE, IT BURNS MY EYES!!!!! (Dictated but not read) Escyos 00:07, October 20, 2010 (UTC)
I agree....I absolutely DESPISE the new format....Let us keep Monaco...;; The new crap gives me a headache....a REALLY BIG HEADACHE. Just saying....Savannah318 15:54, October 21, 2010 (UTC)
New look: Better change? Edit
It's not that I dislike change, I dislike relearning something that does exactly the same thing. As was the case 2 years ago when Wikia stopped using the Wikipedia format. The main reason for that "upgrade" was so it would be easier to display advertisements (making money). The new look does not really seem to make anything better, in fact it is harder to see all my information with my screen resolution on my computer with the new look on my wiki. This new "upgrade" is not any better, it is the same thing with everything in different places. However if some one can find an advantage to the new look, please tell me so I may know? -Kluft 07:51, October 21, 2010 (UTC)
My first reaction to seeing the new look applied to my wiki is that it looks like it's lost roughly a third of the presentation space. There are a lot of vertical infoboxes which used to nestle neatly off on the right side- but the bar of links and tools that had been neatly along the left margin of my wiki is now jammed into the space where those infoboxes were, shoving the boxes to the middle of my screen. I'm not impressed by it being clean, attractive, or user friendly. Rather than working on content I'll be spending the next bit trying to figure out if it's possible to fix that. DarkerDreams 14:41, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
Monaco > Oasis Edit
The users of the Borderlands wiki have announced a fairly unanimous rejection of the new look. If there are any proponents there they have been very quiet. Looking through the summary of reasoning behind the change, i'm finding myself quite baffled...
- Navigation: We’ve made it clearer and more focused and introduced better navigation between wikis. This new look has a horizontal navigation that’s easy to find and easy to use as visitors move around your wiki.
The only thing clearer is a clutter of links at the top that don't interest us. The kind of navigation we want is a means to navigate the Borderlands content and stay within those confines. The Monaco sidebar was perfect for that. Now I can see the various wikia wiki communities inventing individual non-standardised navigation systems which undoubtedly will conflict with the new layout design ethic of pressuring everything into one standard layout.
- Layout. We’ve given the site a cleaner layout, with fixed page width, new fonts, and a right-hand column known as the sidebar. We’ll be developing handy new modules for the sidebar as time goes on. We've introduced a new tool called Theme Designer which allows anyone to customize their wiki with colors and images -- without needed knowledge of CSS.
Much has been said about how narrow it is now, but little has been put forward in terms of constructive criticism. What wikis have going for them is a magazine-style layout, with scattered images. The new look is pushing for a newspaper layout with narrow columns and I don't personally feel that this is conducive to the kind of information provided on a wiki, especially seeing as each article will be rendered in a single column. We aren't conveying small newsbites in text, we are writing editorials in the style of a magazine. Members of gaming wikis also run a fairly high end systems and we've found that this new look compresses the text into such a narrow field that it can be lined up in multiple windows with two, or even three, wikia articles side by side. With only one article open we're looking at a very long vertical scroll and significant unused space to the sides.
I'd be interested to see what "new modules" are being developed for the sidebar. Currently it is mostly useless and only serves to compress text into an even narrower column than it needs to be.
- Community activity. We want visitors to understand that wikis are ever-changing, collaborative communities. New users aren’t always aware of where to look for activity, so we developed tools to better surface all of your contributions and interactions.
Are these well hidden tools? Lately I've been observing many users help each other to locate the preferences setting to restore their Monaco sidebars.
- Toolbar. The floating toolbar anchors at the bottom of your screen and stays with you as you scroll -- so you’ll never be without it! This contains some popular tools and a customizable section for your personal tool choices.
- Notifications. The toolbar also functions as your Notification Center. Notices here will tell you when you have new messages from other members, admins on your wiki, or from us.
This toolbar sounds like a good idea actually. -- WarBlade 22:44, October 23, 2010 (UTC)
Opinion about the new look Edit
I've been around the wikis for a long time, and I've read the negative reactions that a majority of users have for the Oasis skin being set as default, and I honestly have to say in my opinion that the Oasis skin looks terrible. I'm not telling you to remove it, but I've noticed that the Monaco option is about to be removed. I would at least like for you to keep the Monaco as a secondary option. Cmdr Lightning 04:21, October 24, 2010 (UTC)
Right-hand Sidebar Edit
It's proven that the perfect amount of words-per-line to read is between 10/12; the maximum amount without making people tired is around 14/16, and the minimum without making people forget data is around 6/8.
When using a template, like infobox or adding an image to the article, the words-per-line go to 6/8 and down; when reading articles I have to read the paragraph 3 times to understand what I'm reading.
The Right-hand Sidebar waste a lot of space. Reducing text size is not viable because It won't be readable in most of screen resolutions. In this exact moment, the editing-view, it looks totally perfect, there's the white (blank, empty) space where this Sidebar should be, but the white space makes an harmony in the composition, while the Sidebar itself, with all that info, and buttons, and colors, distracts.
SaigoTenshi 14:41, October 24, 2010 (UTC)
I've only done it with two wikis so far, but I've been starting blogs discussing the new format. Doesn't look like anyone likes it. Anyone. People(myself included) seem to find it frustrating and annoying. Judging by what users are saying there as well as here, it's a very bad move on Wikia's part. Sir Real
I suppose there is a lot to complain about with the new look. Well the new look is different, and I can get over that, even though I prefer monobook. But what I find totally idiotic and hopelessly annoying is the 800x600 screen side. Even ten years ago the stand monitor size was bigger than 800x600, but today the AVERAGE (YES AVERAGE!) person has wide screen monitor with a large resolution. I don't know of any website still using 800x600 designed layouts. Why does the new layout use 800x600, why is half my screen black and my text all squished up on my wikis making it totally unusable to read. Am I missing some setting somewhere that can remove this change for ALL users (I don't care it my wikis look good for me if they look like crap for everyone else, or if I'm not logged in).
WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???????????????????????????
- The new skin is 1024 pixels wide or so, not 800 (enough to give a horizontal scrollbar on a 1024x768 monitor, which apparently abut 15% of the readers still use). --◄mendel► 23:30, October 29, 2010 (UTC)
- But 1024x768 it's the same as 800x600, it's a 4:3 proportion, the "square" screen. The wide screen proportion is 9:16 or 10:16 (like 1280X800), and that could be the problem of this topic. Gabriel Gustavo Brys 02:33, October 30, 2010 (UTC)
The point is, that there is an unused space on every side, which is squishing together the width of all our articles. I don't quite know what's behind this idea, because, say what you want - this is a huge step back and rather a down-date than anything else. Someone from the wikia team has either lost a lot of money or a lot of sanity.
- Also I don't understand, why NONE of them wikia idiots seem to be trying to do a little communication between the countless wikias and this "organisation". Isn't right here the best place, to get in contact with us, explain themselves a little like question-answer? All I see is a "FAQ" saying "THAT'S IT - EAT IT OR BEAT IT" - so I myself choose the latter - thank you for nothing, Wikia. Ninjason 10:01, October 31, 2010 (UTC)
I Like the Old Look Better... Edit
Hey there, I'm from the Invader ZIM wikia, and I would just like to say, without being rude, I really don't like the new Wikia look. I prefer the old look better, as it is much easier to navigate around. Plus, the new look is advertising other wikias all over the place, so it's kind of hard to focus on the wikia I'm on. Yes, the old look did look a lot like the regular Wikipedia, but it was easier that way. I've been trying to get used to this new look for as long as it's been out, but it's very odd, the way it's all put together. The old wikia look also allowed us to have a logo, as the Invader ZIM wikia logo was "The encyclopedia of DOOM" written in Irken, but now there's no place to put the logo. When I say it's easier to navigate around, I mean that all of the important buttons (Recently edited, wikia activity, random page, special pages, featured articles, featured users, etc.) are on one side of the screen, not scattered throughout the page. Thank you for reading. InvaderDee 02:38, October 30, 2010 (UTC)
YES! Please bring back the old wikia, I hate this one. CalleyFan 00:25, November 3, 2010 (UTC)
Agreed this looks way to complicated someone just vandalised the fable wiki homepage way to easily and I think people are confused about how to edit Gboy4 17:37, November 3, 2010 (UTC)
Curses, they've changed it. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! I wonder how many wikis will be left after the mass-migration. Toothless99 16:04, November 3, 2010 (UTC)
IT'S NOT FAIR. I ABSOLUTELY FLIPPING HATE THE DIRTY SMELLY USELESS ANNOYING RUBBISH NEW LOOK!!!!!!!! GIVE ME MONACO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO SEE MY user page AND LOOK AT MY PICTURES VISUALISING THE DESTRUCTION OF THE NEW LOOK! Toothless99 talk to me (View my Contributions) 20:11, December 31, 2010 (UTC)
Gostaria se tem como esconder esses milhões de propagandas da wikia na wiki que eu escrevo http://pt-br.a-sol.wikia.com/wiki/P%C3%A1gina_principal ficaria muito grato de ter respostas.rautopia 18:18, December 10, 2010 (UTC)
I would like if you hide the millions of advertisements in the wiki wiki that I write http://pt-br.a-sol.wikia.com/wiki/P% C3% A1gina_principal would be very grateful to have answers.rautopia 18:18, December 10, 2010 (UTC)